SAD meeting on hanging issue
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has convened an emergency meeting of the party's core committee on Sunday to discuss the Akal Takht hukamnama (edict) against the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoanachandigarh Updated: Mar 25, 2012 11:59 IST
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has convened an emergency meeting of the party's core committee on Sunday to discuss the Akal Takht hukamnama (edict) against the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the Khalistani militant convicted for the August 1995 assassination of then CM Beant Singh.
The edict, issued on Friday from the temporal seat of the Sikh religion in Amritsar, directs chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar and SAD chief Sukhbir to immediately meet the President for seeking unconditional release of Rajoana, who is to be hanged on March 31. Rajoana himself wants to be hanged.
The SAD core committee meeting, scheduled for 6pm in Chandigarh, would discuss options before the party and the state government to deal with the situation. Party spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said all 16 members of the committee would be present.
OPTIONS BEFORE GOVT
Legal experts hold varied views on the options before the Punjab government if it wants to get Rajoana released. According to Punjab and Haryana high court lawyer Navkiran Singh, the chief minister, his deputy and the SGPC chief first have to make an appeal to President Pratibha Patil to grant pardon to Rajoana.
"They will have to make a strong case, specifying the reason behind their move," Navkiran said. The council of ministers of Punjab can also collectively pass a resolution for commuting the sentence of Rajoana, which can later be presented to the President in the form of a petition.
Asked if the Punjab assembly could also pass a resolution to grant relief to Rajoana as was done in Tamil Nadu last year seeking pardon for the three assassins of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, Navikran said such a move would not have any legal bearing on the final decision.
Another HC lawyer, RS Bains, said, "Since the matter is still pending in the apex court, where two of his accomplices, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, have already filed an appeal against their punishments, Rajoana cannot alone be hanged," said Bains.
He further opined, "It does not matter if Rajoana seeks pardon or not. It has to be a collective decision of the society as well as of the courts if they would let someone to be hanged just because he is asking for it."